What is a CV?

by Donny Grover

What is a CV?

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) resembles a resume in many ways, but is more specifically focused on academic achievements. A CV summarizes educational and academic history, and may include details about teaching experience, publications (books, articles, research papers, unpublished manuscripts, or book chapters), and academic honors and awards. Use a CV rather than a resume for teaching or research opportunities, applying for fellowships or for further academic training. Some research positions in industry may also prefer a CV rather than a resume.

CV’s are frequently longer than resumes, since the emphasis is on completeness rather than brevity. While there is no single correct format or style for writing a CV, the following types of information are generally included, and typically organized in this way:

  • Name and Address
  • Education
  • Dissertation
  • Fellowships and Awards
  • Prepared to Teach or Areas of Research Interest or Areas of Specialization or Areas of Competence/ Expertise or Principal Research and Teaching Interests
  • Teaching Experience
  • Research Experience
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Works in Progress
  • Related Professional Experience
  • Languages
  • Other
  • References
  • Dissertation Abstract

Additional Tips

  • Fields of Interest or Teaching Competencies: CVs may begin with a short section specifying Fields of Interest or Teaching Competencies (instead of a statement of Professional Objective with which resumes may begin). If you do include this optional section, make your categories as broad as possible to cover a variety of potential opportunities but don’t be so broad that you appear unfocused.
  • Teaching and Research Experience: On a CV it is appropriate to describe both teaching and research experience in detail (on a resume this is usually not appropriate). If applying for a position that primarily involves research, describe research experience first; if the reverse is true, put teaching experience first.
  • Work Experience: Work experience not directly relevant to research/teaching/academic opportunities should be omitted or described only briefly on a CV.
  • Other: This may include miscellaneous personal information such as membership in professional or scholarly associations, travel or study abroad, or personal interests. Include only if you feel that some aspects of your personal history may be relevant and of potential interest to your readers.
  • References: If you list references, provide title, university affiliation, and phone number
  • Your Dissertation:

    • If you are working on or have recently finished your doctoral degree, at least include a brief, clear summary of your thesis topic in the Education section.
    • Including a separate one- or two- page abstract of your thesis at the end of your resume is recommended, but optional. In this attachment, concisely summarize your thesis work, placing it within its scholarly context, and noting its contribution to the field. Your summary should be comprehensible to people outside your field, but scholarly enough to interest people within your area of expertise. Looking at theses on related topics, in Rotch or Dewey Library, may help you write yours. If you do provide an abstract, write “(See Abstract Attached)” in the Education section of your CV, after the name of your thesis title.
  • Cover Letter: A CV should always be accompanied by a cover letter.

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